Review: Digital Savvy
CompuScholar, Inc. offers interesting, engaging, practical computer science courses. My Super Star (age 14) is enjoying Digital Savvy, a preparatory course for future information technology courses.
Some years ago, Super Star (age 14) expressed a real interest in coding. Knowing that computer skills are empowering, I half-heartedly allowed her to work on that for a while, but I eventually cut her off because she was so young, and I have strong opinions about the amount of time children spend in front of computer screens.
She's not a child anymore, and her interest in computers and technology has not waned. I've had a desire to find a way for her to re-engage in this interest, and this new class by CompuScholar, Inc. fits the bill.
Before signing up for the course, we browsed through the information on the CompuScholar, Inc. website. We were able to open the course syllabus and see whether the material covered would be appropriate for Super Star.
Both the student and the parent create individual logins.
When the student logs in, there is first an available course list menu. Once the student selects the course he/she is working on, the student has access to the course content:
Once Super Star was logged in, she went to work. The course is mostly self-contained, and I have little-to-zero work to do . . . which is a good thing because I am not digitally-savvy myself. Super Star is well on her way to becoming my teacher in this field. :)
However, there are a few things for the parent/teacher to do, so I recommend logging in and getting familiar with the course content, the activity assignments, and the resources available to the parent/teacher.
Once the student selects a chapter to work on, the individual lesson options become available. Super Star simply scrolls down the page to the lesson she's on, presses the button and watches the video.
The Lesson Video opens in a pop-up screen, and once she's watched, she simply closes it and opens the Lesson Quiz.
The videos are simple and effective with graphics and text appearing on the screen and a narrator's voice delivering oral information. The Lesson Text covers the same material but in a textbook style format.
Super Star prefers the video lessons, but she will refer to the Lesson Text if she misses a question on the quiz. Then she goes back to read the information, to see if studying the material in a different manner helps her understand better.
She also uses the Lesson Text to study for the Chapter Exams.
I, on the other hand, much prefer the Lesson Text for learning, and as I've needed to help Super Star with a few questions, I've used the text for finding those answers.
After all of the Lessons in a chapter have been completed, there are both a practical activity and an exam to complete. The "Submit Activity" button is for teacher-led classes--not homeschoolers. I failed to log in as teacher and read my copy of the Activity Instructions for chapter 1. In those instructions it is clearly stated that for homeschool/individual courses, the teacher simply grades the work on the student's computer. There's no need to use the button to submit anything.
Thinking that we needed to upload her activities for the online gradebook, Super Star and I spent a lot of time trying to submit her work via that button, and finally I contacted CompuScholar's customer support. I was unable to submit a question via their tech support button because I didn't understand how to log in to it. The account login is not the same as the tech support login. However I was able to fill out the "contact us" form and received a timely reply that stated the following:
"I apologize for the confusion with the support portal – it’s actually a separate system used by both our online students and others that might have printed textbooks, etc. So the account you’d use to log into the portal is not the same as your online course account. You can log into the portal with a Facebook or similar account, or create a new support portal account. We are working on single-sign-on for our online students. We also welcome questions directly by email, as you have done."
The email reply continued to answer all of my questions about submitting and grading work, and directed me to really good help within my online course account.
After logging in as parent/teacher and then selecting the course, the above page opens up. In the sidebar under "Teacher Menu" is an option called "Professional Development." Clicking that, opens up a menu of video lessons that teach a variety of useful skills for the parent/teacher.
|(This is also where the parent/teacher learns how to add a sibling account.)|
In addition, opening up each lesson when logged in as parent/teacher, there are more options that assist with grading and helping your student through the course.
All of the quizzes and tests are graded automatically as the student works on the computer. And those grades are available for the parent/teacher to look at at any time by selecting "View Gradebook" from the Teacher Menu.
Super Star likes Digital-Savvy.
I heard her laughing out loud during the first chapter when she was learning about mainframe computers. I don't know exactly what's funny about mainframe computers, but she enjoyed the lesson tremendously.
Digital-Savvy is very practical.
The activities Super Star has completed so far have been hands-on, research-driven, and useful for her to get to know our computers, our hardware, our software, and understand more about the technology we actually use every day.
I'm seeing Super Star use the technology we have with greater skill, greater confidence, and greater enthusiasm.
Digital-Savvy is easy to use.
Other than my initial blundering by not studying about my role as the parent/teacher in advance, it's open-and-go curriculum. I do very little other than check Super Star's test and quiz grades to see that she's doing the work, and help her a little with her activities. So far, the activities have been entirely manageable even for tech-ignorant me. And after I learned about all of the parent/teacher resources, they became even easier.
Digital-Savvy covers a lot of material.
From how to plug in peripherals to using spreadsheets to web design, Digital-Savvy is introducing Super Star to a great variety of computer skills.
For more reviews about CompuScholar, Inc.'s online computer science courses, click here or on the banner below.